Links 1/15/2012

Lambert Strether is an old-school blogger from Corrente.

Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost World Times. Was the Amazon once an edible forest, a la 1491?

How to think [and write] like Shakespeare (furzy mouse).

How did a giant diamond stolen in a daring London raid end up in a Hong Kong pawnshop? (Buzz Potamkin) Independent.

Greyhound passengers going to OccupyCongress: Driver stranded us in Amarillo, saying “you people” aren’t welcome on his bus KFDA – NewsChannel 10 Amarillo, TX. If only we had internal passport controls, none of this would be happening.

NPR/NYT Guru Adam Davidson’s Discredited Economic Principles (SW) Alternet.

European Leaders Use Debt Downgrades to Argue for Austerity, and for Stimulus Times. Alrighty then.

Like a scene out of the film ‘Titanic,’ chaos consumed the Costa Concordia after it ran aground CNN (photos). Great metaphor for the global economy.

Costa Concordia’s captain arrested after abandoning his ship Guardian. But not a perfect metaphor.

Nigeria fuel talks fail to reach compromise Al Jazeera. Austerity blowback.

Gulf oil-spill responders say they’re still fighting for payments McClatchy. Big Oil behaving badly.

Few Keystone XL Jobs Would Go to Residents on Pipeline Route (MS).

U.S. troops quietly surge into Middle East San Francisco Chronicle. If you want war, prepare for war.

Russia: “Should Anything Happen to Iran … This Will Be a Direct Threat to Our National Security” George Washington. Anything “happen? What could happen?

Israel to US on Iran: “Let’s you and him fight?” Maybe, maybe not (MS) Atlantic.

US signals Thailand: Opening Burma was a make-good for the Iranian rice market, not an add-on to it Post.

“The offensive parts” Who Is IOZ?

Relief at the county level for localities victimized by MERS Truth Out.

Bill Moyers interviews at OWS Truth Out. Mentions Bill Black! Be still, my beating heart!

Oakland’s Boots Riley on black bloc tactics (affinis). Read it all.

Wisconsin group says it has enough signatures to recall R Senator Fitzgerald (furzy mouse) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [Corrected!]

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) recycles lobbyist’s exact wording on constituent letter supporting HR 3699. The bill would enable companies like Elsevier to charge the US citizens for access to US government research. (I didn’t frame this as “charge taxpayers for taxpayer supported research,” because operationally taxes do not “fund” government spending.)

The Enemy Expatriation Act will let the US government strip citizenship from anyone it deems a threat (MsExpat). Check the text because I’d love to be wrong. And wait, wait, didn’t Obama just say NDAA wouldn’t apply to citizens? This must be the workaround.

Chinese Big Pharma studies tradional roots and herbs Reuters.

Class Warfare at the Worsted Mill (Aquifer) Angry Bear. 1%ers behaving badly

Romney’s Bain made millions as S.C. steelmaker went bankrupt McClatchy. 1%ers behaving badly.

Santorum charity for the poor spent most of its money on “management,” cronies (Buzz Potamkin) Post. 1%ers behaving badly. What would Jesus not do?

Romney plays the envy card. Crazy. Who would want to be Romney?

NOTE Readers, sorry for the issue with comments on the WPA post. My WP chops are not all they could be, yet.

Antidote du jour: Twig’s Ernie.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. JTFaraday

    “Greyhound passengers going to OccupyCongress: Driver stranded us in Amarillo, saying “you people” aren’t welcome on his bus.”

    Well, if I’m this Greyhound driver’s boss, it all boils down to one question: were they disruptively occupying teh bus, or did they buy tickets?

    1. F. Beard

      I am ashamed for Amarillo, where I spent my first few years (happily) growing up.

      Must be all that money building nuclear weapons has warped their brains.

      Look at the hate you spread to people’s souls, ye “Masters of War” and weep both for them and for yourselves.

      1. KnotRP

        182. (a) If two or more persons conspire:

        (5) To commit any act injurious to the public health, to public morals, or to pervert or obstruct justice, or the due administration
        of the laws.

        Doesn’t that pretty much describe the current “selective” law enforcement? If conspiracy to commit bank/mortgage fraud had even a fraction of the attention these mic check stunts had, would we even be experiencing mic checks this week?

          1. Maximilien

            Greyhound fly them to DC? Hah! You’re dreaming!

            Here in Canada we know all about Greyhound’s wonderful “service”. Incompetent, unhelpful staff and rude, surly, arrogant drivers. Several months ago, one of them left his passengers LOCKED for 12 hours in his bus while he went and spent the night in a motel. That’s just one of many Greyhound horror stories we Canadians can tell you.

            In this case, the driver was at least courteous enough to get the protestors to a city. In Canada, he would have dumped them in the middle of nowhere and considered it a job well done.

  2. JTFaraday

    “The bill would enable companies like Elsevier to charge the US citizens for access to US government research.”

    They already do that now, whenever the work of a State University professor (or work of anyone subsidized by the state, including students) gets locked up behind some firewall, which is most of the time.

    We need a bill for that?

    1. Dexter Edge

      Yes, a bill to undo it.

      This is one of the great publishing scams of all time. It’s not just state-funded research that is at issue. Academic publishers don’t pay for *any* of the research they publish (or, if they pay author fees, as in Britain, the fee is so low as to be effectively zero). So they are charging extortionate fees (for example, $35 or more for the pfd of a single 5-page article) for articles that they acquired for free based on research that was paid for by state or private money, or even (as is not infrequently the case in the humanities) out of the researchers own pocket.

      1. timotheus

        And the excuses Maloney/Elsevier give are pathetic. (The linked article shows, hilariously, how Maloney can’t even write her own talking points and relies on the donor’s PR dept.) The journals “add value” through the peer-review process? Please. They take (unpaid) labor from researchers, farm out the drafts to other (unpaid) professionals who spend hours combing through the drafts to spot errors or weaknesses, shove the comments back at the (unpaid) authors, do little or no copy-editing and then sit back as owners of the final product, for which they charge monopoly prices. Academics can’t object because their jobs depend on getting their stuff into these journals. Maloney should be ashamed of herself for participating in this scam.

        1. ambrit

          Dear timotheus;
          I’m wondering if the Congresswoman didn’t rely a little too much on the ‘judgement’ of one of her assistants. This could be boilerplate legislation, and the politica just signed what was put in front of her. RoboCongroSigning.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            My understanding is that most people, maybe the 99% of us, sign their 85-page car lease agreements or their 253-page real estate purchase agreements like robots.




            And here?

            No, initials would be fine. No need to sign there.



            OK. All done.

            Do I get a copy?

        2. J.

          It’s even better than free articles – you may even have to pay them to publish it.

          One generally pays a page charge to biomedical journals to print one’s paper.

      2. Praedor

        As a university scientist who has published, the fact is that it costs a LOT to publish. The “better” the journal, the higher the cost. This cost comes out of the grant funding for the lab. “Nature” and “Science” cost the most, being the top tier of the journals. They are also very difficult to get into – your research results must be particularly noteworthy. That said, I question the utility or use of “editors” at any journal I’ve ever published in. They do NOT edit Jack Shit. I have edited, re-edited, edited yet again ad nauseum every single article I’ve ever published to meet the editorial requirements of this journal or that. So much editing is required by the original authors that there is nothing left for a journal editor to do – WE ARE DOING ALL THE EDITING. So any claim by any journal that costs money that they provide “editing” is complete bullshit. They do nary any editing at all.

        As for the claim that they manage the peer review process…more bullshit. More accurately, they may have a hand in the peer review process for their journal but only in passing. WE, the scientists, actually provide names of peers we think are likely to understand the work and be able to properly critique the work. The scientists themselves that actually do the reviewing do so VOLUNTARILY. They are not funded to do so by the journals. Elsevier is NOT a particularly solid publisher at all. More a clearing house. They add nothing of need to any scientific article.

        Public-funded research belongs to the public, plain and simple. Research accomplished in the horrible public-private partnership model also belongs to the public as most of the funding does come from the public. In any case, even if 40% or 30% of the funding for a particular bit of research came from public monies with the rest from a group of private financiers, it STILL belongs to the public as it wouldn’t have happened at all without the public money. Note: I DESPISE public-private partnership research. It is a load of crap setup so that corporate entities can control publishing of data and obtain control of any benefits of research that they had a mere fractional part in funding (and barely any hand in actually doing).

        Elsevier and the like need to be driven out of business and out of existence. Their model is of no more real utility than buggy whips and horse-drawn carriages. Less, actually.

        1. Valley Girl


          As a funded university researcher, with publications in major journals, I totally am in agreement with your comments. The journals are in it for the money. e.g. a color illustration costs blah blah. etc. etc.

          And, I went to look at PLOS, which in the past set itself as a “new model” for allowing access, particularly for scientists in uh less richer nations, who were in places that are so poor that the library could not afford a subscription to pricier journals, i.e. Elsvier.

          When I first heard about it, I thought it might be a leveling ground. Now, I doubt.

          ~an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication~

          on the same page:

          ~To provide open access, PLoS journals use a business model in which our expenses—including those of peer review, journal production, and online hosting and archiving—are recovered in part by charging a publication fee to the authors or research sponsors for each article they publish. For PLoS ONE the publication fee is US$1350.~

          Uh, the disclaimer:

          ~We offer a complete or partial fee waiver for authors who do not have funds to cover publication fees. Editors and reviewers have no access to payment information, and hence inability to pay will not influence the decision to publish a paper.~

  3. craazyman

    RE all the 1%ers behaving badly . . .

    What would Jesus do? Since it’s Sunday . . .

    (editors note: I would ironically compare and contrast this text with Doestoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor scene from Brothers Karamazov but that would take more focus than I possess right now and would probably bore everybody anyway . . . )

    Jesus Christ
    Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

    Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
    A hard-working man and brave
    He said to the rich, “Give your money to the poor,”
    But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave

    Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
    His followers true and brave
    One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
    Has laid Jesus Christ in His Grave

    He went to the preacher, He went to the sheriff
    He told them all the same
    “Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the poor,”
    And they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

    When Jesus come to town, all the working folks around
    Believed what he did say
    But the bankers and the preachers, they nailed Him on the cross,
    And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.

    And the people held their breath when they heard about his death
    Everybody wondered why
    It was the big landlord and the soldiers that they hired
    To nail Jesus Christ in the sky

    This song was written in New York City
    Of rich man, preacher, and slave
    If Jesus was to preach what He preached in Galilee,
    They would lay poor Jesus in His grave.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In my world, when you behave badly 3 times, bascially, you are going wild.

      The 1% gone wild.

      That vidoe ought to go nicely with ‘Girls Gone Tame.’

      That should shame the 1%.

      1. craazyman

        somebody commented yesterday or the day before:

        “Why aren’t there protest songs these days for the 99%?”

        It suddenly occurred to me yesterday, walking to the deli to get a coffee. It’s because all artists who you’d hear about are part of the 1% and are probly keeping their heads down. ha hahahahahah

        Even Joan Baez herself seemed confused when she went to an OWS event.

        Woody Guthrie. I don’t know all that much about him but it’s weird to see just how bad things were when he was writing songs. He could have been a rich musician but he just walked away from all the money cause he didn’t give a shit.

        Some national guard division shot and killed about a dozen striking miners (I think it was miners) someplace in California, I think around the 1920s or something. He wrote a song about it. I mean really. Can you imagine that today?

        Today’s it’s like a protest theme park in Disneyland compared to that stuff they lived through during the labor movement and the 1920s and 1930s. Although maybe we’ll have to live it all over again when the weather warms up.

        1. Procopius

          You’re so right. You ought to read Jack London’s “The Iron Heel.” It’s available online at Project Gutenberg (most of what I read nowadays is available free on the web). When I was in high school we read “The Octopus”, by Frank Norris, and were told stories of the labor movement. I don’t think our teachers thought they were being subversive, but the real story of the River Rouge strike of 1937, when Ford Service Department men took control of machine guns from the National Guard and fired on the picket line, won’t be found in the acceptable histories. The oral history survived, but I suppose it’s gone now. There were some good stories in John Dos Passos’ U.S.A. trilogy, too. Look up “The Muckrakers,” the writers from Teddy Roosevelt’s time who were bringing this stuff to public attention.

      1. CB

        So does Garfield, but Garfield is never puzzled. That’s one of the most admirable things about Garfield: his assertive certainty. Self-confidence. I particularly liked his reply to John’s remark that he was overweight: “I’m not overweight, I’m under tall.” Paw waving over his head. Nobody gets up on Garfield.

  4. aesop


    A Cat fell in love with a handsome young man, and begged the goddess Venus to change her into a woman. Venus was very gracious about it, and changed her at once into a beautiful maiden, whom the young man fell in love with at first sight and shortly afterwards married. One day Venus thought she would like to see whether the Cat had changed her habits as well as her form; so she let a mouse run loose in the room where they were. Forgetting everything, the young woman had no sooner seen the mouse than up she jumped and was after it like a shot: at which the goddess was so disgusted that she changed her back again into a Cat.

  5. charles sereno

    “U.S. troops quietly surge into Middle East”
    Two American carriers, the “Stennis” and the “Carl Vinson,” have been deployed to protect us from Iran. They are named for two eminent legislators who signed the Southern Manifesto (1956) in opposition to Brown v. Board of Education. Perhaps, members of Congress today should sign a Mideast Manifesto. It could be unanimous. Each member of Congress could have his/her name on a drone.

  6. Dirk77

    Re Bain, Georgetown Mill and declaring bankruptcy. Have you Lambert, or Yves, Harrison, Phil, etc., ever thought about arguing for ending corporate limited liability with “free market” types? I mean it’s welfare, right? Every person must be responsible for their own actions as Ron Paul says, right? I say this because that being explained to me was the final nail in the coffin of me calling myself a libertarian (in the modern, not original sense). I am sure the true believers have some bogus mantra to weasel out of it, but most people are not.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        It’s all about “release from liabilitly” from the adverse result of the acts of those who form the corporation, getting better and better: from “Corp” to LLC, etc. The perfect expression of protection from the cost of culpability is “Societe Anonyme”.

    1. liberal

      I say this because that being explained to me was the final nail in the coffin of me calling myself a libertarian (in the modern, not original sense).

      I agree that the form of the corporation is a benefit bestowed by government, but it’s a pale shadow of the benefit conferred by the government granting land titles.

      IOW, the strongest argument that libertarians (contrary to their name) actually despise freedom comes from the Georgists.

    2. Maximilien

      Dirk77, Ambrose Bierce was on to the scam a full century ago. From his “Devil’s Dictionary”:

      CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

      And then, having rigged the game, the rich rig the justice system. Bierce again:

      IMPUNITY, n. Wealth.

        1. Procopius

          Dirk77, here’s another entry from the Devil’s Dictionary that I think Maximilien should have included:

          GRAPESHOT, n. An argument which the future is preparing in answer to the demands of American Socialism.

          Bear in mind he was writing at the end of the nineteenth centure when socialism seemed to be the “scientific” solution to the problem of enormous inequality and injustice. Socialism may not be exactly the right name for what we have to struggle for, but any effort to take anything from the 0.1% is going to get the same answer,

  7. DC Native

    Key point about NDAA: “Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”

    Obama’s signing statement only “promised” that ***his*** administration wouldn’t indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. His administration. This law will likely stay on the books LONG after the Obama administration packs its bags and leaves town, so he’s basically enabled all future administrations to use this power without restraint.

    And call me crazy, but doesn’t it seem a bit too coincidental that all these indefinite detention, citizenship-stripping provisions are being rushed through Congress just as the situation with Iran is reaching a boiling point?

    If an “incident” in the Gulf of Tonkin…wait, sorry…the Strait of Hormuz sparks a WWIII (which, all of the sudden, doesn’t seem quite as absurd a proposition as it once did) then the U.S. government will have all the tools it needs to fight the war abroad AND at home against its own citizens (those pesky anti-war protesters).

    We’re basically in a global depression, of sorts, and we all know what definitively ended the first Great Depression.

    Just saying.

    1. lambert strether

      Military Keynesianism has a long and dishonorable history. That said, wasn’t the economy on the mend until FDR took the advice of the austerians of his day and precipitated the little depression of 1937? I’m not sure the process is quite as mechanical as you appear to suggest.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      This is two years in a row they have passed critical legislation over the Winter holidays when people aren’t watching as closely.

      Plus it doesn’t help to have a compliant media.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Endless War” makes the President the Endless Commander of the U.S.A. via his despotic might as Commander in Chief of troops to enforce his Will: Intel, PsyOps, BlackOps, Security, and Military (hired or contracted).

      This was Bushie’s legacy to Obama. Obama is setting up the Absolute Dictatorship for himself or whoever is anointed as President of the U.S.A.

      Think “Enabling Act” under the “Weimar Republic” period. It’s just a matter of time before we are subject to Hitler Redux, UNLESS We the People …


  8. Middle Seaman

    Any attack of Iran is crazy. It will only cause more trouble. First, Iran has the right to have a bomb as long as some of its neighbor have one: Pakistan, India, Israel, Russia, etc. Second, it is impossible to demolish the Iranian nuclear development; it’s way to deep in the ground. Third, an attack on Iran will kill many Iranians and start a war between Hezbollah and Israel that will also result in huge casualties.

    How a regional negotiation to reduce, Iran will keep some, the number of bombs in Iran, israel, Pakistan and India?

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Well, maybe they figure they should do the acts they don’t want discovered in January.

          They’ve had years of rolling out the product. How long has Iran been in the cross hairs?

          Maybe they figure it’s better to just do it and ask forgiveness later. They have to be emboldened by Libya. The Democratic president just engaged in a war without congressional authorization and there was nary a complaint.

        2. Procopius

          You’re right. I’ve been saying for a couple of years it will probably start in March or April. It seems that would be enough time to get properly warmed up, but not long enough before the election that the costs will start showing up. It may by Obama decides it really isn’t necessary, but if his advisers think there’s any chance he could be beaten I’m sure they’ll decide a nice little war will save them. Of course it won’t be nice, or little, but they’ll be counting on “Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.” I sure hope my premonition turns out to be wrong.

      1. neo-realist

        I would think the last thing the Obama administration wants is a war with Iran in an election year: $300 dollar a barrel oil? $15 per gallon at the pump? An economy on the ropes definitely going down for the count. Not to mention the possibility of some of the potential asymmetrical war side effects–suicide bombers and other sorts of terrorist attacks going off in western europe and the USA. We’ll be fighting them for a long time.

        Yes the elites won’t mind for it helps their profits, but I believe not only will Obama actually push back, but the Pentagon with a military worn down by Iraq/Afghanistan will do so as well.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          It has the effect of knocking out Ron Paul though.

          The U.S. is always hyper patriotic and dumb and angry at the start of a war. As soon as hostilities start, Ron Paul is in trouble in the Republican primaries, is my guess.

          Then, if the people do turn against the war it’s too late–it will be Romney v. Obama–both of whom will fully support endless illegal wars.

        2. Doug Terpstra

          Good points, but I suspect that what Obama wants is largely irrelevant. He may pretend to push back, as he does noisily with the GOP, but the timing of the war on Iran is ultimately up to Israel, which clearly controls US foreign policy. My guess on timing is, after many more months of CIA/Mossad terrorism, saber-rattling, and provocations, an October launch.

          1. neo-realist

            I remember reading on that back in November, the Israeli Defense Minister Barak said that we had about six months to make a decision because the Iranians were reinforcing and dispersing their nuke sights. Who knows, they might go for it a little sooner and the feckless Obama be damned.

        3. YankeeFrank

          A very real danger is that Obama will be “forced” to act (given his fecklessness and fear of appearing weak on “defense”), based on a false flag operation by Israel or the CIA. He has sabre-rattled enough against Iran that it would be easy to force him to act or risk appearing a weakling pacifist in an election year. That is the real danger here. Obama is smart enough not to want war with Iran, especially given what will happen to our fleets in the straits of hormuz given that Iran has thousands of small craft with torpedoes loaded aboard ready to sink our entire fleet. Air craft carriers and their supporting craft will be helpless against thousands of these small very fast boats. It will be a massacre of untold proportions, and then the straits will be mined and a global depression will ensue. But the neocon nutballs and Israeli fools are not worried about the fallout (pun intended and not intended), they are just rabid enough to “force” Obama’s hand.

    1. jerrydenim

      “Second, it is impossible to demolish the Iranian nuclear development; it’s way too deep in the ground.”

      I’ve heard as much from several Iranians the past few years. Apparently tunneling deep into the earth has been the new Iranian national pastime since the 2003 Iraq war. The Iranians used a good bit of their oil money to invest in high-end Swiss tunnel digging equipment and have miles and miles of hardened underground facilities miles below the earth, all over the country, well out of reach of US bombs. No way the US, Israel or anybody is going to be disarming Iran without a full-on ground war, and I don’t think ANYBODY, including the US military has the stomach for that after what the armed forces have endured since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        This presumes knocking out their nuclear capabilities is the goal. I presume that is the pretext rather than the goal.

        Also, I would not assume the fascists in control of the U.S. don’t have the stomach to shed other people’s blood. They have demonstrated the opposite over and over the last 60 years or so and deserve no such wishful thinking.

    2. blueanthrax

      it may not as crazy as it appears to be. all it does is sending a warning signal to china as this country in the last month has a series of high ranking officials’ visit to neighbouring countries (jp,kr,th,vn…) for the purpose of replacing the primacy of usd with the rmb. i think the us want to demonstrate its capability to indirectly affect the chinese economy. if that is the case russia is ok with that but if the us want to really invade iran russia clearly say no.

  9. Dick

    “Costa is owned by parent company Carnival Corp.”

    Sounds like a race to the bottom in quality control.

  10. Dick

    Forgot the link:

    “The Carnival Corporation wouldn’t have much of a business without help from various branches of the government. The United States Coast Guard keeps the seas safe for Carnival’s cruise ships. Customs officers make it possible for Carnival cruises to travel to other countries. State and local governments have built roads and bridges leading up to the ports where Carnival’s ships dock.

    Mickey Arison – Carnival Cruise – No Taxes But Carnival’s biggest government benefit of all may be the price it pays for many of those services. Over the last five years, the company has paid total corporate taxes — federal, state, local and foreign — equal to only 1.1 percent of its cumulative $11.3 billion in profits. Thanks to an obscure loophole in the tax code, Carnival can legally avoid most taxes.””

  11. Bill C

    RE: Bill Moyers interviewing Bill Black:

    As I recall, Bill Moyers was one of the few on TV to interview Dr. Black during this crisis. I remember
    seeing it last year or the year before.
    I’ll look for a link, maybe on YouTube.

  12. Foppe

    I don’t get it, who do they wish to expatriate? The 25 “terrorists” with dual passports? What good will that do? Is that really for those 5 part-americans who they dislike but feel uncomfortable torturing now?
    And stripping people with only one nationality of that nationality is illegal according to the UN charter..

    1. Percy

      Thanks for the link. Black has always made sense to me. But, of course, few pay attention. Like others who try to drive home basic truths about bankers and politicians, he’s brushed aside and usually forgotten, as the powers that be mean him to be.

  13. Susan the other

    Romney is so self-anointing. I’ve never seen anybody who is so devoid of a cringe detector. So far Romney has made one stupid remark after another and he utterly fails to see people cringe in response. What’s with this guy? I mean, most people anticipate the cringe and censor themselves.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Nope, wouldn’t want to be Mitt, shudder to think of it.

      Despite his frozen smile, the man repeatedly betrays a pathological lack of empathy that will ultimately scuttle his candidacy. Though he may win the primary, beyond Bain vulture capitalism and the Mormon problem for evangelicals, in the general, he cannot survive the horrific story about his strapping the family dog carrier to the luggage rack for a twelve hour road trip. It’s similar to what scuttled Bill Frist’s presidential bid, his experimentation on stray cats and others he deceitfully “adopted” from the Humane Society.

      Rachel Maddow: “Even if you’re okay with the dog being strapped to the roof of the car, once the dog has been up there for hours and is sick, once he is ailing [and diarrheal], you take a hose to him and put him back up there and keep driving with him still strapped to the roof of the car for more hours?!”

      1. F. Beard

        So it appears. What an ass Romney is and a dummy too. Americans often have more concern for animals than people. People, it is assumed, can help themselves or at least ask for help or maybe they deserve it or maybe …

  14. Walter Wit Man

    Re the news on 15,000 troops being sent to Kuwait.

    This is clearly the president risking war with Iran and yet there is hardly any mention of it in mainstream circles. They may now be giving it more attention–but why the delay?

    Following the normal propaganda procedures for the U.S., it appears to have first been reported first in the military newspapers and one highbrow MSM source, this time the L.A. Times. Then we saw it reported on SFGate and, and a few other smaller sources (on Friday–news dump day on a 3 day holiday weekend).

    This is very small exposure for such a big story. Just as a reference, I searched google news going back a week for “Kuwait 15,000 troops” and I got 37 hits relating to this story. When I search “Kuwait troops” I get 135 hits for a story about some commander of U.S. troops in Kuwait who is publicly describing his recovery from alcoholism.

    For some reason, google does not include the original L.A. Times article in the group of 37 news stories. But it does group now over 2,000 articles with the L.A. Times story (and this has increased from when I first looked yesterday). But when I search for reporting on the 15,000 troops most of those articles linked to the L.A. Times story fail to report the troop deployment.

    Anyway, I don’t have much experience researching how a story gets passed around the MSM, but my spidey senses are tingling on this one.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        I’m referring to the google “related articles” feature on search results when one searches news on google. So when I searched for for “kuwait troops” occuring in the news the last week the results are grouped into three categories:

        1. The 37 news articles that talk about troop deployment in Kuwait in greater detail (like the SFGate story Lambert linked to and the Army Times and RT).

        2. The over 2,000 articles that are linked to the L.A. Times article appearing on the 12th, that also goes into great detail about troop deployment. But the related articles do not go into the same depth as the original L.A. Times story or the 37 stories grouped in #1.

        3. The 164 stories about the retired Army guy about fighting addiction.

        So its misleading for Google to group them in this way. It implies there are 2,000 references to the Kuwait deployment story but there doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to this when one investigates.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        I sense this story is being spiked.

        I’m just trying to track how the story has been released to prove that suspicion.

        I obviously lack the skills to do a comprehensive analysis of media treatment of this story–but the basic timing is suspect. The Pentagon releases a story it claims it wants to keep quiet to only a couple of sources (if not just one?) on Thursday. Then on Friday a few more small sources pick up the story while most of the MSM stays mum. Then we have a three day weekend.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Yep, sounds like the old-timey “*product roll-out*. Of course, Google is captured to *see no evil*.

    1. Ms G

      Here we go again. The Judith Millers of the few MSMs are busily not reporting news that is fit to print. Plus ca change . . . quelle disgrace.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Unless I’m missing something I see ZERO reference to this at the New York Times.

        I searched “Kuwait troops” for the last 7 days and got nothing relevant. Maybe there is a better search term but it seems to be a spiked story . . .

        It’s like FDR sending 15,000 troops to China on the Japanese border before Pearl Harbor and the media not reporting it.

  15. Dick

    The Bain of our economy:

    “The company that makes Twinkies is in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy again after only two years. They’re seeking to gut their union contracts; the reasons sited in most of the corporate news reports are high sugar and flour prices, even though these are down currently. Less reported is the fact that they carry massive debts they can no longer service despite interest rates trending near zero. Why, you might ask? To tell you the truth I didn’t bother to research it, rather I’ll make a shrewd bet. I’ll bet the 90 year old company who makes an extremely popular product that has literally an indefinite shelf life is in trouble because it has been looted by corporate raiders.

    Over the past thirty years companies like this have been routinely looted by either their management, that simply takes not only all the profits, but all the assets of the company in the form of executive compensation. They are able to do this because the top tier of management is paid not what the company can afford, or what is required to find competent management, but what a compensation board (selected by management) decides other companies are paying. No matter how ridiculous this amount may be.”

    1. KnotRP

      > Costa Concordia’s captain arrested after abandoning his
      > ship Guardian. But not a perfect metaphor.

      Clearly, he should’ve run a bank aground. Or the entire economy….then he wouldn’t have been arrested…heck,
      he would’ve even gotten his yearly bonus, and maybe a
      retention adjustment, since innovative people are hard to find.

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “Relief at the county level…” the Truth-out article by Ellen Brown is entitled: “Occupy the Neighborhood…” This is highly recommended. The courage of the State AG’s will have tremendous consequences, and it puts Obama’s Justice to everlasting shame.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I wish I had similar hope.

      I know I’m too cynical for most people but here’s how I see the holdouts:

      This is their audition to be the next sell out–like Obama. This is the stage where they buttress their bona fides by pretending to be looking out for the public interest. But they are simply auditioning their usefuless to the ruling class–whom they hope to serve.

      I see no hope with any of the holdouts. More aggressive action is needed–like criminal charges and pursuing litigation rather than negotiations (and is the statue of limitations running even though it appears not to be? That’s the trickery I suspect.).

      I’m deeply suspicous of Kamela Harris on a personal level as well.

      1. Sam

        In total agreement.

        Her record as district attorney in San Francisco was a disaster of carnivalesque proportions.

        She’ll do whatever it takes to boost her career first and serve the public last. First and foremost is paving a road to a cabinet position in the Obama administration.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          But if banksters in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk boosts her career, that’s what she’ll do. That’s a good thing. Relatively. At least she’s not operating on some lunatic Randroid theory scrawled on the inside of her skull in luminescent letters.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Then were are the criminal charges? Where is the preparation to make the case? There doesn’t seem to be much behind her threat of holding out.

            There is suppossedly a tolling of the statue of limitations for the civil claims but the criminal statue of limitations is running, no?

  17. KnotRP

    > Gulf oil-spill responders say they’re still fighting for
    > payments McClatchy. Big Oil behaving badly.

    Corporations are people. People who can hold their breath
    (indefinitely) longer than their victims…

  18. KnotRP

    Can one legally change one’s name to a corporation name?
    And change it repeatedly, like holding companies do, every time too much karma catches up? Citizenship needs to be
    as innovative as corporate law has become…

    1. Jeff

      No, because the courts would soon “pierce the corporate veil” to reveal you were just a petty scammer rather than say a billion dollar one who would garner respect from politicians.

      Speaking of corporate piracy:

      “Corporations whose lobbyists drafted SOPA and PIPA want the ability to block you from reaching any web site they feel hurts their profits — without due process, or review in any court — by hijacking DNS (!) and censoring search results. Hoping you won’t notice until it’s too late, Congress is preparing to give them that right.

      For example, Monster Cable (who brought “Monster Park” to 49er fans) considers craigslist a “rogue site” for takedown under PIPA – they want to prevent YOU from selling YOUR unwanted cables, by removing craigslist from the Internet entirely (reddit), so they can increase their sales of new cables! Many other “rights holders” want to be able to do the same. (Boycott anyone? There’s an app for that.)

      1. Ms G

        It’s called setting up your own consulting firm, aka “Jane Doe Consulting Services.” Voila, you are a corporation. Piercing veils is an inconvenience for regulators and prosecutors and costs time/money, though admittedly far less inconvenient and expensive if it is just you, your pet cat and your desk as opposed to a “giant squid” of affiliates with loads of employees and addresses and ops.

        The comment is spot on though. Reminds me of how I felt the first (and only) time I tried calling a Senator (Schumer) to support a bill (the TBTF one) and got as far as speaking to a snooty young intern telling me dismissively that she would “take a message” regarding my wish that Schumer vote for the bill. I don’t think GS had to use the same phone number I did, though.

        1. KnotRP

          ok, so maybe the thing to do is form a really large corporation out of an ever expanding circle of friends of friends….call it Google+$ or something. Make a pet fish the CEO, put him on a web cam, placed in a tank with a “yes” side and a “no” side. Whenever bad decisions are carried out by employees due to the fish being on the “yes” or “no” side, I suspect the CEO will have just as much luck recollecting his decisions as current leading CEOs do. The CEO could be a tropical orange-colored fish, since that color appears to confuse regulators and law enforcement more than it should…

  19. Yata

    Emminent domain to cut through the MERS debacle sounds to me like a back door bail-out of some of the worst losers in the mortgage/builder/real estate tragedy.

    NC as a sounding board, wouldn’t fair market value be a rescue of some properties, both legally and financially ?

  20. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Attention NC Thinkers: — “The Age of Transitions – [Full Documentary] uploaded by GoodFightUploads on Mar 29, 2011. Best seen in entirety.

    Please say what you think about this cogent history through “tomorrow.” If you have any questions about the difference between the “Military/Police/Security” arm of the .01% and 1% Agency, and the rest of us, this should provide a few answers.

  21. Maximilien

    Adam Davidson is a twit. Get a load of this quote from his NYT column:

    “Most of the time, [Wall Street] does this [matching of borrowers and lenders] extremely well (though in the case of matching homeowners’ debt to the global financial system, too enthusiastically).”

    Too enthusiastically? Not exactly the adverb that would spring to mind in this case of massive fraud by Wall Street. But in Adam Davidson’s mind, apparently, theft is merely over-enthusiasm.

    His column is filled with such drivel, and he was justifiably savaged by most of the commenters.

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